I am sure that many of you are familiar with this sort of a day. Today is the sort of day when you sit down to decide what you are going to write and find that you have nothing much to say. Today is the kind of day when you rootle through the scraps of scribbled upon paper that you always have distributed about your person, only to find that all the good bits have already been taken and what is left is fringed with what, just possibly, could be coffee. Today is the kind of day when you think ‘Actually, does it matter?’
I realise that there will be no mass outpouring of grief if I publish nothing. It will spoil nobody’s day. It will impinge upon the conscience of, I imagine, little more than a couple of dozen. Those who mourn its absence will not trouble double figures.
And so I start to wonder, should I stop this altogether? Why do I do it? Whilst I would not slap away the welcoming hand of a ‘national’ editor begging me for a thousand pithy words a week, I know that this is not going to happen. I would, of course, love to have a larger readership. I would love to think that people wake up on a ‘Getting On’ blog day thinking ‘I wonder what he’s got to say today? I’ll put aside quarter of an hour this evening to sit down with a decaffeinated espresso, a couple of Rich tea and a coconut macaroon whilst I digest and relish his every word’, but they do not. More likely than not, they stumble across this verbal hodgepodge when they’ve got nothing better to do – probably whilst trawling Google for the definition of twaddle.
In truth, I do this because I do this. I scribble on scraps of paper all of the time. Each evening I gather up the lexicological detritus of my day and transcribe the assembled waffle onto the computer. It’s what I do. In the past I would have sought to distil some semblance of an idea from it that might lead somewhere: a book, a script, a short story, but today, it is what it is. I no longer have the will to spend days, hours, weeks, months, working on something that I know will never be read or performed.
Not that I take what I do lightly. I do not. I strive to make it as good as I can. It might be inconsequential, but at least it is thoughtfully so.
Each evening I sit in my little office; I listen to music, I stare out of the window, I watch the sunset unfold and I write. My mood determines what I listen to, but my disposition is itself determined by what I hear. Both are shaped, to some extent, by the chocolate/whisky/both conundrum that I nightly face. This is what I do and, increasingly, I begin to realise that this is what I am, and that realisation is, in itself, some kind of enlightenment: I am merely a random accumulation of scrappy, dissembled meanderings and, perhaps, I need to stop considering myself as anything more. Being an amusing aside will have to do.
Back in the Once-Upon-A-Time when I thought that I would one day be somebody, I would agonise for days over what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. Only when I was certain of my path would I start to follow it. I set off with the end already in sight – and that’s not the healthiest of routes to take is it? These days, I just go. The path is unpredictable, the destination unknown, but I always end up somewhere, and I feel as if that is where I am meant to be.
I think that it is entirely fitting that this should have all occurred to me because I find myself with nothing to say.
The wonderful Paul Eddington (The Good Life/Yes Minister) once said that he wanted his epitaph to read ‘He did very little harm’ and, given the way that this little blue planet of ours is going, it would seem to me to be something to aspire to. I’m already a good way there. I can already lay claim to ‘He did very little…’